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Employee Assistance Programme - this is shocking!

23rd June, 2023 by Graham Nicholls
employee assistance programme
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Employee Assistance Programme - this is shocking!

An employee assistance programme is there to support a businesses staff. Usually that support is in the form of mental health and emotional health support. This can be via a telephone line or online (zoom / teams) calls. They are designed as a workplace benefit to help staff whilst also helping the business. Employee assistance programmes can help to reduce absenteeism, improve moral and increase staff retention.

However, a new report out shows that some employee assistance programmes are not all they seem. Quite honestly, as a business owner, some of these statistics absolutely shocked me. If you want to see the whole report it is linked at the bottom of this article. 

Employee Assistance Programme - shocking statistics

As I read through the report there were several statistics that waved a red flag. One, in particular, really shocked me. In fact, this one statistic actually made me a little angry. Would you like to know what it is? 42% of people who contact their employee assistance programme are REJECTED! Yes, you read that correctly..... 42% of people who contact their employee assistance programme because they need help with their mental health are told they cannot have the help they need.

Are you shocked by that? I know I am!

Why would anyone who needed help be rejected from an employee assistance programme? Their employer is paying for a service that they cannot use. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis around the world and people are being denied the help they need. I really do not understand why this would happen. It is worth me pointing out that there is no more depth to this other than the 42& that get rejected. There is no reasoning given. How could there be? If it is due to some sort of criteria set by the employer or employee assistance programme provider, it need to be reviewed.

The very word 'assistance' in employee assistance programme suggests people get the help they need. It seems this is not the case. Imagine, for a moment, that ten people from your business decide they need to reach out for help. They get in contact with the company you are paying money to for this service. However, only six of them are offered help and four of them are rejected. Those four people could go off sick and cost your business money. Those four people could stay at work but perform badly, costing your business money. Or, and this one hurts, those four people could leave the company. This gives you a cost of replacing them and training the new staff. Ouch!

Another shocking employee assistance programme stat

I have to admit it, every time I read these statistics I shake my head in disbelief. Even for those people who get through and are accepted, they don't necessarily get the help they need. 60% of those people who contact their employee assistance programme are signposted to self-help resources. Another 20% are signposted to a national charity for help (which means it costs the employee assistance programme provider nothing!). The final 20% are told that if they need help it is up to them to find a counsellor.

What on earth are businesses paying employee assistance programme providers for? 

One more statistic 

Is it any wonder, considering the above, that 44% of UK businesses who have an employee assistance in program are looking to change supplier?

For all the statistics used in this article, and more, click here.

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